Updated at: 09-06-2023 - By: Craig Huey

D/STs shouldn’t be a part of fantasy football if it were up to me. I hate to say it, but I prefer kickers to defensive end/special teams. Why? It’s not often that a kicker scores a touchdown or more than 25 points, but that’s something defenses can do every week. While it’s true that any player has the potential for a good or bad week, it appears to be much more difficult, if not impossible, to predict with D/STs. Since we pride ourselves on completeness, we also compiled some rankings of fantasy football defenses for the 2016 season.

As a rule, we don’t draft D/STs until the later middle rounds (or later) and try to avoid busts because we know we’ll have to play matchups at some point during the season regardless. The fact that even some of the top-10 defenses will likely have several weeks where you can”t/don”t want to use them makes it difficult to find a true D/ST “sleeper.”

Here are some more 2016 rankings: quarterbacks, running backs, wide receivers, tight ends, and kickers.

Yet, someone must be the pioneer in creating a defense, and if you”re going to do it, you might as well do it with the best. To kick off the season, here are our recommended players.

2016 fantasy football rankings: Defense/special teams

The Cardinals of Arizona, hands down.With the additions of LB Chandler Jones, DB Tyvon Branch, and first-round DE Robert Nkemdiche, the Cardinals have strengthened what was already one of the best fantasy D/STs in 2017. Losing Dwight Freeney this offseason isn’t going to help the Cardinals’ sack totals, which have been a point of criticism in recent seasons, but the team made some key additions and talented pass-rusher Markus Golden is entering his second season and should post respectable numbers in both categories (sacks and takeaways/interceptions/touchdowns).

Next, the Denver Broncos. Despite losing DE Malik Jackson in free agency, Denver’s defense and special teams unit still rank first in fantasy points. The Broncos may even be better this year than they were the year before, as they only had 14 interceptions as a team in 2017. Both ways, they’re a formidable defensive unit in the first three rounds of the draft.

We’ll go with the third-place Seattle Seahawks. We all know what the Seahawks bring to the table defensively, and while the loss of LB Bruce Irvin could hurt Seattle’s pass rush, that is not news. There are still playmakers at all three levels, and the Legion of Boom is still together (and even brings back former member Brandon Browner… for whatever that’s worth).

4. To be specific, the Carolina Panthers. If you look back at last year’s defense, how important was Josh Norman? His absence will undoubtedly hurt the Panthers’ secondary, but the team’s formidable front seven should still be able to put enough pressure on the quarterback to slow down opposing passing attacks. For Carolina to be a serious contender for the best fantasy defense again this year, it must improve its late-game defense, a weakness last year.

There are a total of 32 different teams, meaning there are 32 different potential sleepers.

5. Those pesky Chiefs from Kansas City. Although the Chiefs lost some key players in the secondary, they still have Marcus Peters and his eight interceptions from last season. This defense still has a strong front seven, which should allow them to compete for the league lead in sacks and make them a reliable unit week in and week out.

6. A.K.A., the Houston Texans. If Jadeveon Clowney can figure it out this year, the team will be in good shape. Considering that we said the same thing about Clowney last season and it didn’t pan out, you shouldn’t draft the Texans hoping for a major contribution from him this year. This already dangerous unit would be among the league’s best if it came to fruition, but until then, it’s best to stick to what you know: J.J. Watt and company wreaking havoc on the field. However, it is currently unknown when Watt will resume wreaking havoc due to a back injury. As of right now, we’re willing to give Houston the benefit of the doubt because it finished sixth in D/ST fantasy points in 2017 despite a relatively low number of interceptions (14). This ranking will be updated as we get closer to the season and learn more about Watt’s timetable.

Seventh-placed L.A. Rams. Despite losing some big names on defense (DE Chris Long, LB James Laurinaitis, CB Janoris Jenkins), the Rams are still formidable thanks to their stacked front seven and the presence of Trumaine Johnson (seven INTs) in the secondary. There is enough skill present to make fantasy football a reality.

Minnesota Vikings are number eight. The Vikings have almost their entire No. 8 fantasy D/ST and No. 5 scoring defense back from last season. The Vikings are reliable all around, so you can count on them to deliver year after year. The defense will likely have a slight home-field advantage now that the game will be played indoors in front of a larger crowd.

NFL team No. 9: Steelers of Pittsburgh. Pittsburgh, like Minnesota, posted solid overall numbers in 2017 and will be bringing back the vast majority of their key performers from that campaign. They drafted defensive players with their first three picks this year, keeping with the Steelers’ tradition. The Steelers have the personnel to have another successful fantasy season.

Here’s more: Xem thêm:YouTube Explosion El Debarge: I Like It Live (1999), I Like It Live (1999).

NFL’s New England Patriots are #10. The Patriots are a perennial powerhouse among fantasy D/STs, finishing in the top 10 in each of the last three seasons. Was it a bad idea to let Chandler Jones go? Perhaps, but the Patriots will try to resurrect Chris Long’s career anyway. Their prognosis is probably good.

11. There’s a team in New York called the Jets. The Jets are a classic example of a “good, but not great” fantasy defense, but with just one or two defensive touchdowns (they were one of only two teams with zero last season), they look much better. The pieces are in place for them to be a solid fantasy starting unit after a season in which they stopped the run and limited points.

12. The Bengals of Cincinnati. Despite losing several star defensive players (S Reggie Nelson, CB Leon Hall, LB A.J. Hawk), the Bengals have re-signed their dominant front four and brought back a number of key contributors in the secondary. It’s important to remember that LB Vontaze Burfict has been suspended for the first three games of the season due to player safety violations.

QBs, RBs, WRs, TEs, KRs, and KRs are ranked, among others, in this 2016 article.

13. Packers of Green Bay. The Packers’ defense is consistently one of the best in the league, placing them in the top 12 almost every year. Though inconsistent from week to week, this unit is still desirable to own all season as long as Clay Matthews and the outstanding secondary remain unscathed.

The 14th-ranked Jaguars of Jacksonville. This is our secret weapon for the upcoming year. The Jaguars have the potential to make significant improvements in sacks (where they were already middle of the pack) and takeaways after retooling their defense with several potential impact players (DE Malik Jackson, DE Dante Fowler Jr., LB Myles Jack, CB Jalen Ramsey, S Tashaun Gipson). It helps that six of their games (five of which count for fantasy purposes with the second Colts game in Week 17) are against teams with suspect offenses that are prone to sloppy play.

15. San Francisco 49ers. The Giants improved their defense by adding defensive end Olivier Vernon and cornerback Janoris Jenkins, but the addition of defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul for 16 games would be a huge boost. That’s a whopping 2.5 impact players (no, that wasn’t a Pierre-Paul hand joke; he only played in eight games last season) who can chip in with sacks, interceptions, and defensive touchdowns. The defense still has some holes, but if they can generate big plays, fantasy owners won’t mind if their team gives up yards or even touchdowns.

The Raiders of Oakland, California, are number 16. The Raiders aren’t usually considered by fantasy owners as a strong defensive unit, but this year could be the exception. LB Bruce Irvin, CB Sean Smith, S Reggie Nelson, and S Karl Joseph in the first round were all new additions for Oakland. All-Pro linebacker Khalil Mack’s impact on opposing offenses will be magnified by the influx of talent surrounding him.

17. The Redskins of Washington. The Redskins quietly placed 15th in fantasy D/STs last season and have since added CB Josh Norman. It’s true that Washington’s 15 fumble recoveries and 5 defensive touchdowns from the previous season were a fluke, but with DeAngelo Hall starting at safety and Norman on board to theoretically lock down one side of the field, the “Skins should be able to get more than 11 INTs this season.

18. They’re the Lions from Detroit. Even though the Lions’ performance varies from year to year, it’s worth noting that they were missing starting linebacker DeAndre Levy for nearly the entire 2017 season due to a hip injury. Detroit will benefit from Levy’s return, and the better pass defense will help compensate for the loss of LB Stephen Tulloch. Ziggy Ansah (14.5 sacks last year) and Devin Taylor (7.0 sacks last year) at defensive end are Detroit’s biggest strength up front. The Lions have talent to spare, but their defense will struggle with consistency like most teams in the 13-20 range.

A.K.A. The No. 19 Baltimore Ravens. The Ravens’ defense last year was surprisingly weak, allowing just over 25 points per game while only recording six interceptions and eight fumble recoveries. While the Ravens rank eighth in yards allowed per game, the latter stat seems at odds with that. Although they are not the Ravens of old, Baltimore still has a lot of skill on the field, especially in the secondary and pass rush.

20. the Bills of Buffalo.

A major fantasy letdown in 2017, Buffalo hopes to make defensive coordinator Rex Ryan’s vision a reality by focusing its top three draft picks on improving its unit. Due to his shoulder injury, first-round pick Shaq Lawson will miss the majority of the season, limiting any potential improvement. However, there is talent here, and Ryan has a reputation for making the most of his defensive strengths. The Bills may not be a team you can count on to start every week to start the season, but they have the ability to do so.